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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cultivating Your Perspective

After eating breakfast at the hotel, we returned to Pioneer where we heard from Becky Harstad about understanding Commodity Markets, which was very informative and eye opening. While some people in our group understood more than others on the topic, we all joined together to help each other further understand futures contracts, basis and how to calculate prices so that we can find ways to better our prices and gains.

Next, we heard about sustainable agriculture from John Buck, who shared with us his humorous life experiences. His main point was that in order to be sustainable we must advocate, which we are learning throughout the week is a very important key to success on our world today. Mr. Buck shared stories about how he advocates by talking to youth and most importantly inviting people to come spend time with him on his farm. We then broke into our small groups for a while to work on our visions and to write thank-you notes to our amazing sponsors.

After lunch we went on operation tours, one group going to Barilla pasta and Louis Dreyfus, and the other went to Firestone and Ag leader. At the ethanol plant (Louis Dreyfus) we learned that when a truck comes it can unload in three minutes, and the corn moves into water tanks where it is cooled, heated and mashed several times. After fermentation and then distilling 200 proof ethanol is achieved and they squeeze 2.8 gallons of ethanol out of a bushel of corn. 800,000 gallons of water is use at the plant in a day half of which is recycled. The Barilla visit consisted of a tour of the mill where the wheat is ground for use, then water is added to the flour and the pasta dough goes through the pasta making process. The system is mostly automated, and it takes six hours from the time the wheat is ground until the end product is achieved. At Firestone we learned the components of large ag tires. We we were lead on a tour of the plant where we saw how the rubber went from the beginning rubber and is formed into a large tire. The plant is currently expanding so that they will be able to produce more tires in a day, however the expansion is very costly. We were unable to tour the facility of Ag Leader, where all of their products are made, because of time restraints. However, we were given a very informative presentation about the different products that Ag Leader offers, and how they have been improving through the years.

The highlight of the day for most people was visiting Samuelson Farms where we ate a fabulous pork chop dinner, and learned incredible information about Case IH and their new technologies and equipment. Even the die-hard green farmers enjoyed the evening, and learned a lot of valuable information. After the formal presentations we were allowed to get very hands on experience with the equipment. After a very exciting day with incredible information that we will be able to take home and use, we are very excited to see what is in store for the rest of the week.

Cat Roaten, Indiana and Daniel Moore, Virginia


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